Category: Miscellaneous

Mr. Forgetful

There are usual symptoms that come up in my life when I’m reaching the “I’m Overwhelmed” stage of things. My room gets messier. Office gets more cluttered. I run on a shorter fuse. But I’ve started coming across a new sign that hasn’t come up in my life before.

I’m losing track of time.

Not in an “I thought it was noon, but it’s actually 2pm” sort of way. That’s happened to me all the time. No, I mean in an “I can’t honestly remember what day of the week it is.” Is it Monday? Friday? Am I supposed to be excited that it’s the end of the week, or dreading the week to come?

It’s not just the days of the week, either. There have been multiple times the last month or two when I’ve forgotten what season I’m in. Maybe that’s normal when you live in a place with seasons that blend together, but I’m in Maine. In autumn. You just have to glance out the window for a second to see a gorgeous display of changing leaves that only happens once a year. Still, the other day I was on my way to Bangor for another meeting, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what time of the year it was. Spring? Winter? Summer? It didn’t occur to me to look out the window.

It’s not like this quandary went on for a long time, but it was a good couple of minutes. Sort of like when you’re looking for your sunglasses and then finally find them on your head, but on a more cosmic scale.

These days, I just rely on my calendar for everything. I try to shut out everything but what’s on my schedule right there in front of me. I know I’ve booked things in a way that I can get all the things done that need doing. As long as I don’t think about them all, then I don’t feel too overwhelmed.

I just don’t remember when I am.

Does that happen to anyone else, or is it just me?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Death of a Pet

Yesterday when she went to feed the degus, DC noticed one of them had collapsed. Shadow wasn’t breathing much, and he wasn’t moving at all. I came home from a trip to Bangor to assess the situation. Was there a vet we could take him to? How did things look? But it didn’t take much examination to know he was in a pretty bad spot.

When we woke up this morning, Shadow had died.

When we bought the degus seven years and a half years ago, we did it fully aware that they typically live six to eight years. That seemed like a long time at the time, but here we are. Tomas was eight when we bought them. A year later, we discovered Shadow and Shooting Star weren’t two boys, but a boy and a girl, and we had baby degus that followed. (We solved that problem soon after.) Reading over those posts reminds me of how much fun we had with them over the years. I’d completely forgotten DC had named the baby degus (including the one who’d crawled up my sleeve and into my shirt, who was dubbed “Mischip,” because DC had trouble saying “Mischief”).

These days, they’re much more DC’s pets than they are Tomas’s. She was very distraught to see one in such pain. It all came to light after MC had already gone to bed, so MC found out this morning. Sad times all around.

We won’t be getting a replacement degu. We still have Shooting Star left, and we’ll take good care of her, even if she might be a bit lonely. Losing pets is never easy. I remember each of the ones I’ve lost over the years. Just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean it has any less of an impact. I do think it’s important to go through the process, though. To learn how to deal with loss. (Of course, when we bought the degus, I didn’t suspect my kids would have to deal with the loss of a grandparent long before they dealt with the loss of a degu . . . )

In any case, it was a pretty somber mood around my house this morning. Believe it or not, I have a pretty soft spot for pets. (My original dream job was to own a pet store, back in the day. That never materialized somehow . . . ) We’ll have to pick out a good spot for Shadow to be buried. Maybe someplace with a good view, where Shooting Star can see him.

Good-bye, Shadow. You’ll be missed.

A Great Way to Spend $100

One hundred dollars can do a lot of different things for you. It can buy you a really nice meal or an even greater amount of groceries. It can take you to the movies multiple times. It can buy a couple of video games. It can buy around 4 or 5 hardcover books, or more paperback. It can set you up with enough chocolate pudding mixes to last at least a few months, depending on how fast you go through chocolate pudding mixes.

I’ve spent $100 many different ways over the years. But perhaps one of my personal favorite ways that I spent $100 in the last couple of years was when I purchased this keyless door bolt system.

It’s not the most expensive ones out there. There’s no camera on it. No wifi connection. No way to unlock it remotely. It’s just a touch pad. You type in the right code, and the door unlocks. Voila!

Up until that $100 was spent, there were multiple instances of family members getting locked out of the house. Who can forget the time I did it to myself at 6:30 and tried to get Denisa’s attention by throwing rocks at our bedroom window? (Pro-tip: it doesn’t work as well in real life as it does in the movies.) Denisa locked MC in the house once, while she was locked out of the house. That was a bad morning.

Now that we have the keyless lock, however, all of that is a thing of the past.

Unless, of course, someone locks the door knob. There’s this little flimsy bedroom door lock on the handle, see. We never touch it, so we don’t have to worry about it. Except this morning when Tomas was coming back from cross country practice to an empty locked house, he discovered someone had locked that lock.

Let’s just say this morning Tomas is grateful for cell phones. For the fact that I work only five minutes from my house. For me deciding to stay at work instead of heading to the beach with Denisa and the girls. Because keyless door locks don’t work if you lock something else.

But if you’re looking for a way to spend $100, might I recommend the peace of mind of never locking yourself out of your house again? The thing is easy to install (I did it myself in a few minutes) and works like a charm.

Just make sure not to lock any other locks on the same door . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A Week at Fiddle Camp

Tomas just got back from one expedition, and off he and DC go on another. (For the record, Trek went very well, despite the fact that it rained buckets on them for most of the time, and they ended up coming home a half day early. Tomas said he had a great time, so yay for that.)

This week, Tomas and DC are at Fiddle Camp, a weeklong summer camp devoted to fiddle music and stringed instruments. We only became aware of Fiddle Camp a year or two ago, and both kids said they wanted to do it, and applied for scholarships to cover some of the costs. The scholarships came through, and we drove them up yesterday.

It was a strange sensation, dropping the two of them off at a place where Tomas knows a couple of people and DC knows just about no one (other than Tomas, of course). We took them each to their cabin (ten kids per cabin) and unloaded their bags, and then took them on a brief walk around the camp, and that was that. I figured they’d want us out of their hair as quickly as possible, so we grabbed MC and got back in the car for the drive home.

I went to several camps as a kid. CTY and Day Camp. I remember some of what I did there. (More at CTY than at Day Camp–was it at Deerkill? I can’t quite remember.) But I do think it’s helpful to kids to let them get away from their parents and do their own thing for a while. Of course. part of that process is hoping that “their own thing” is something that you as a parent approve of, but sooner or later you have to let them figure that out for themselves. I think we should have sent Tomas off sooner, though we probably couldn’t have afforded to do it in years past.

Anyway. I checked in briefly with Tomas yesterday evening via text, just to make sure all was going well. Got the thumbs up, so I’m assuming the best, and hoping they’re having a blast playing music, dancing, eating, swimming, and having fun. MC was quite sad to see them go, so we’ll have to see how this week goes for her. Entire families can attend. Perhaps Denisa will take MC next year. We’ll see.

For now, however, my family is down to three people at home instead of five. Whatever will I do with all that extra space?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Further Adventures in Stocks

After my success with Square stock a while ago, I decided to give it another go back in April of last year. At the time, Facebook’s stock had plummeted in price, and it seemed like a great opportunity to buy some, since (back then) I figured Facebook would be around for quite some time to come. The only problem was that it was more expensive than I would have liked; I could only afford 4 shares at $153.64 a piece, investing a grand total of $614.56.

For the first while, it seemed like I’d made a really great purchase. By July, the price of the stock was up to $207, meaning I had made over $200, increasing my investment by over a third. Yay!

Then Facebook got hit with lawsuits and penalties for a string of stupid decisions, and I saw the stock drop all the way down to $125 by December. I’d lost almost 20% of my investment. Boo!

The stock has had a rocky road to recovery, clawing its way back above $200 again at last, and I’ve taken my earnings and cashed out. I still think it’s likely Facebook’s stock will increase some more in the future, but I no longer have confidence that it’s going to be around indefinitely. I guess in the end, I just decided the Facebook stock ride was one I didn’t enjoy, and so I decided to get off while I still could.

On the other hand, my last experiment (Square stock) is now up to over $80, so if I had stuck around back when I sold my stock at $45 or so, I would have almost doubled my money by now. I still don’t regret clocking out when I did. I needed the funds then, and I had tripled my investment that time. Will the same hold true for Facebook? Possibly, but I think I might take a bit of a time out from individual stocks for right now. I look at the Dow Jones, and it just seems awfully high to me . . .

That said, I have nothing to complain about from my time working with stocks, and I’d say it’s likely I’ll give the wheel another spin if and when I find the right company to invest in. If nothing else, it gives me another thing to check each morning when I start my day. Kind of like a sports team that you have an actual stake in.

Got any hot stock tips for me to look into?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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